Pietersen eager to open up

Dhaka, Feb 17 (AFP) Kevin Pietersen said he was "excited"by the prospect of opening for England at the World Cup afterbeing promoted to the top of the order during a tight warm-upwin over Canada.

England have struggled to find a quick and plentifulsupply of runs from a one-day opener since the internationalretirement of Marcus Trescothick, although the past year hasseen captain Andrew Strauss enjoy his best limited overs form.

Pietersen, usually a No 4 batsman, made 24 off 28 ballsagainst Canada but it was wicketkeeper Matt Prior, tried as aone-day opener, with 78 batting at No 6, who did most to getEngland to 243 all out.

England scraped home by 16 runs after a blistering 93 off70 balls from Pakistan-born Rizwan Cheema threatened to giveCanada a shock victory.

Pietersen was encouraged by his own display, which cameafter England had discussed the prospect of him openingtowards the end of an Ashes-winning tour which neverthelessconcluded with a 6-1 one-day series thrashing by Australia.

"It''s really exciting - a nice positive move going intothe World Cup," he told Sky Sports.

"We spoke about it going into the end of the Australiatour. We feel at the top of the innings is a really nice timeto bat. I''ll look to play my normal game," the South Africaborn batsman insisted.

"It''s not a pinch-hitting role. It was put to me, and Iwas very excited -- and the team are right behind thedecision. I''m fine. I have a nice little feeling about it."

Encouragingly for England, fast bowler Stuart Broadreturned from an Ashes-ending stomach injury and a recent boutof illness with five wickets for 37 runs.

"It was nice to get a few boys back (from injury)," saidPietersen.

"They were tough conditions today, but some really goodstuff from our lads -- Broad coming back, (Ajmal) Shahzadcoming back and Matt Prior playing beautifully in the middleof the innings, and Jonathan Trott playing really nicely.

"Broadie and Shaz bowled with the new ball exceptionallywell.

"At the end of the day one bloke from Canada playedbeautifully, hit the ball out of the middle of the bat andplayed a wonderful innings - and that can happen on anyparticular day.

"So hats off to him - but we still won the game."

All-rounder Cheema, left reflecting on what might havebeen, said: "It feels great when the ball is going out of thepark.

"If we''d not lost so many wickets early, it would be adifferent story." (AFP) PM

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